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Best Baldur's Gate 3 Karlach build

The best companion build for Karlach in Baldur's Gate 3, including subclass, equipment, and skills.

Karlach smiles in close-up
Image credit: Larian Studios / VG247

Karlach may have been a relatively late addition to your Baldur's Gate 3 crew, but many players have been won over by her combination of unstoppable tankiness and genuine good-natured charm. Yes, like Wyll, we quickly learned to put aside our prejudices and understand that Karlach is perhaps the very best of us all — and the fact that she's one of the toughest in a fight is just a delightful bonus.

To help you make the most of her companionship, we've written up this quick Baldur's Gate 3 Karlach build that covers her best spells, equipment, weapons, ability score spreads, and more.

Baldur's Gate 3 best Karlach build

Since they're both among the tankiest companions in Baldur's Gate 3, unsurprisingly there's a lot of overlap between Karlach and Lae'zel, to the point where building Karlach as a multiclassed Barbarian/Fighter is one of the most popular ways to play her. As such, you probably won't want to have them both in your party for the most part, and the decision as to which character to focus on will likely come down to whether you prefer a solidly melee build (Karlach) or a versatile melee/ranged build (Lae'zel).

Karlach ability priorities

Karlach's default ability scores at the start of the game are as follows:

  • Strength - 17
  • Dexterity - 13
  • Constitution - 15
  • Intelligence - 8
  • Wisdom - 12
  • Charisma - 10

These are pretty good for her, although if you do choose to respec at any point it's possible to reshuffle a couple of her Strength points in order to boost her Constitution and/or Dexterity without losing anything too significant. Improving her Dexterity should be a matter of priority when levelling up in any case, since this will aid her in wielding and landing hits with larger weapons which are suited to her.

Karlach best subclass

Karlach's default Barbarian subclass is Berserker, which is certainly not a bad shout for her and a close runner-up for the best choice available; but to get the absolute most out of her build, it's better to choose Wildheart instead.

Wildheart grants a choice of five animal features, almost all of which are great choices depending on how you're building your Barbarian. The best animal choice for a tanky Karlach build is Bear Heart, which allows her to enter a state of rage in which she has increased resistance to almost every damage type (the only exception being Psychic damage) and can heal herself by drawing on her stamina. The pay-off is an inability to cast spells while raging, but luckily this build really doesn't require Karlach to do any spellcasting — let the rest of the party worry about that.

Multiclassing Karlach

As with most characters you're building for combat, Karlach can benefit from being multiclassed as a Fighter. The Action Surge ability from that class's second level will increase Karlach's attacks once per turn, granting her an extra action that can be used to deal even more damage.

Karlach best equipment

Karlach's high strength stat means that she's perfectly set up to wield heavy two-handed weapons effectively, though she's also good enough at range that it's worth keeping a bow in hand as a back-up.

In order to avoid encumbering her, keep Karlach in Medium Armour at most, especially after her Dexterity hits 14 as this will boost her armour class higher. The ideal armour set for Karlach is the Adamantine Scale Mail from the Underdark's Adamantine Forge, which counters any melee attacks against her by making her attacker reel for two turns; however, since this is a rare piece of equipment, consider using the best Medium Armour you have to hand. It is also remembering that Barbarians can gain unarmoured defense bonuses, so it can be worth kitting her out in simple clothing alongside gear like the Bracers of Defense (looted from the Blighted Village cellar; +2 AC when she's not wearing armour) as an alternative.

Karlach best skills

Karlach's default proficiencies are Athletics and Survival, both of which are good choices for this build; Athletics in particular is good for passing checks on shoving enemies, which Karlach can use to great effect to buy herself or an ally some space in a pinch. Perception can is also a good choice for her, given that her high-ish Wisdom isn't getting much use in this build otherwise, and can be great for spotting traps and treasure while exploring the map.

For maximum damage, be sure to take the Great Weapon Master feat as soon as it becomes available. This grants Karlach extra damage-dealing capacity when she attacks with a two-handed weapon, and a bonus attack whenever she crits or kills an enemy with a melee weapon.

If you've been won over by Karlach's warm-hearted charms, you might be interested in checking out our Baldur's Gate 3 Karlach approval and romance guide next!

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